National-security law professors’ takes on the Trump leaks
There are two issues with reporting on the recent Trump intelligence leaks. First, they tend to be from constant critics of the administration, for whom “Every move, every tweet is a threat to democracy, an affront to humanity, and surely will lead to the end of life as we know it.” Second, and just as importantly, most journalists covering the story appear to know very little about how either executive law or national-security law works, and seem to selectively give passes when it suits their agenda (e.g., for the past four months, the intelligence community, after years of being excoriated as clandestine thugs threatening rule of law, are now unimpeachable heroes who should be deferred to without question).
Jack Goldsmith’s Lawfare blog has skirted both of these issues. Goldsmith, “widely considered one of the brightest stars in the conservative legal firmament,” worked in the Bush DOJ and teaches at Harvard Law. Since he is both fairly balanced and understands security law, Lawfare tends to be the best reporting on these kinds of issues (as it was during the Obama administration).
Anyway, this is a fantastic synthesis of:
(1) what happened
(2) why it is not illegal
(3) why it still matters: (a) it threatens sources and methods, both from the US and allies; (b) it threatens US alliances and intelligence-sharing agreements; © it again raises questions of how disproportionately Trump trusts Russia; and (d) it raises broader questions about how impactful Trump’s rash actions may have on world security.
Though this might beg the question as to why it matters; after all, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because you know, the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”
America’s empty-church problem
This popped up a lot on Facebook recently, but I just got around to reading it. Highly recommend it.